Dubai: After the disappointment of finishing second to Rory McIlroy in the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai here last year, US Open winner Justin Rose is now looking to go one better in this year’s edition.
The current world No 5 comes into this week’s season-ending event at Jumeirah Golf Estates second only to race leader Henrik Stenson by just over €200,000 (Dh984,000) and he could still leapfrog the Swede with a win or at least a fifth-place finish depending on how Stenson fares.
If Rose finishes second, Stenson will need to win the DP World Tour Championship to triumph in the Race to Dubai, whereas a third, fourth or fifth-place finish from Rose would require Stenson to reach seventh, 18th or 53rd respectively.
Rose last won the European Tour moneylist in 2007 but is targeting a follow-up this year as validation of his credentials.
“Last year Rory played so well and it was all wrapped up, whereas this year I think it’s shaping up for a really exciting finish,” said Rose. “I think two really good weeks for me in Shanghai (5th) and Turkey (T3rd) have put me in the position that I need to be, where in a sense I control my own fate with being able to win this tournament.
“I think I’m €225,000 behind Henrik. I haven’t really figured out the breakdown, but I imagine top three is going to be enough to get past him, depending on where he finishes.
“But I think it’s just head down, play as good as you can. I’m sure it will become clear as the week goes on who is playing well and who is not. At this point I think it’s going to take good golf no matter what.”
Asked what it would mean to be crowned ‘King of Europe’ for a second time, Rose said: “It’s a big motivation. I feel like this is the modern era, if you like. Now knowing it as the Race to Dubai, I won it as the Order of Merit, so I would love to do it.
“I’ve never held this trophy. Even though my name is on it, I’d like to see if I’m strong enough to pick up this new trophy. It’s a big goal, and it’s a goal that presents itself as the season progresses.
“At the beginning of the year, you can dream of winning it, but it really only becomes an option once you’ve played some good golf. Obviously this time of year, everybody turns their attentions towards it, and this is the last chance.”
Of his last Order of Merit win, Rose said: “2007 was an amazing year. But it came out of the blue, it was a bit of an anomaly. ’06 wasn’t great, ’08 wasn’t great. It just sort of popped out of nowhere. Whereas I think this year will be built on a lot more solid foundation and therefore maybe means more.”